There’s a men-only program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that takes 30 students on an overnight retreat, where they talk about what it means to be the type of man who protects others and is responsible for himself.
It’s called the Men’s Project, and it’s premised on the idea that the old “boys will be boys” cliche is nothing but an excuse for boys to be assholes.
The project asks the students to think twice about traditional manliness -- that men shouldn’t cry or ask for help, that the strong are entitled to dominate the weak, that sexual conquests make the man -- and how these hang ups torture them and their loved ones.
“Expectations around masculinity influence the decisions college men make. They believe they need to act a certain way to be accepted,” says UW spokeswoman Meredith Mcglone.
“This can lead to self-destructive behaviors. Research indicates that young men are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, less likely to graduate from college, and less likely to seek help from campus resources.”
But this sort of thinking, according to state Sen. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater), amounts to little more than a “war on men and their masculinity.”
In a shrill email sent to fellow lawmakers Wednesday, Nass suggests cutting UW’s budget as punishment for the Men’s Project. He doesn’t quite explain how he disagrees with the program, but he is foot-stomping mad.
“UW-Madison has become part of a national liberal effort to rid male students of their 'toxic masculinity,'” Nass wrote. “In short, the highly paid leaders at UW-Madison now believe that Wisconsin mothers and fathers have done a poor job of raising their boys by trying to instill in them the values and characteristics necessary in becoming a Man.”
UW’s course is based on a similar program at Washington University in St. Louis.
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